Macrofinanciera, the Colombian unit of Panama's Multibank, expects to become Colombia's 21st bank at the beginning of 2012, with the aim of reaching US$180mn in assets and US$140mn in loans in its first year of operations, chairman Iván Rodríguez told BNamericas.
Macrofinanciera has 40 branches nationwide, and had 165bn pesos (US$92mn) in assets and 13.2bn pesos in equity as of end-February.
The company expects to receive all necessary approval from Colombian financial services regulator Superfinanciera before the end of this year. It would then begin operating as Multibank Colombia, with a niche focus on remittances as well as the factoring and payroll loan segments.
Macrofinanciera commands a 15% share of the country's US$4bn remittance market and has already opened some 20,000 savings accounts for remittance receivers in the country, Rodríguez said.
To meet its funding needs, the company will turn to certificates of deposit and savings accounts, while tapping the local securitization and debt markets is also an option, the executive said.
The investments needed to upgrade to a full-fledged bank will affect the company's short-term earnings, an impact which Macrofinanciera expects to reverse in 2012, Rodríguez said.
Rodríguez said that Multibank chose Colombia for the first stage of its international expansion given the good prospects of the country's economy, and that it does not rule out purchases to speed up growth in the Colombian market.